The Villa Casa Casuarina
What We Love
- Location directly across from the beach
- The villa’s incredible on-site restaurant, which serves Old World dishes infused with innovative ingredients
- Rich history: The property is the former Versace mansion
- READ MORE: Find your perfect Miami vacation
What To Know
- Reservations are required for afternoon tea (served from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays in the Mosaic Garden)
- Looking to take a break from the beach scene? Try the property’s Thousand Mosaic Pool, where Versace’s 24K gold tiles still gleam
- Top Miami Beach restaurants and nightclubs are just a five-minute cab ride away
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
The Villa Miami Beach delivers a delicate mix of flamboyance and sophistication worthy of the mansion that once belonged to Gianni Versace. Past the iron gates (and the many celebrity seekers) that surround the 1930s villa — which is directly across from the beach — the property opens up like a scene from One Thousand and One Nights.
Bed and Bath
The layout is reminiscent of a Moroccan riad: 10 suites set around an interior courtyard with a fountain, with carved wood doors and intricate tiling. The Villa Suite is Versace’s former boudoir and, unsurprisingly, the most lavish — two balconies, gold shower fixtures and a truly enormous bed (nine by 12 feet) — but the other nine suites are close contenders. Each has Frette linens, Versace fabrics, a Sono sound system and a sleek bathroom clad in Italian marble.
You’d be remiss not to reserve a table at the villa’s 30-seat restaurant, where river pebble mosaics adorn the walls, candles in colored vases cast a glow over the tabletops, and Versace china announces that eating here is as much an aesthetic experience as a gustatory one. The menu from chef Jeff O’Neill (of Miami’s exclusive Gibraltar) features Old World dishes infused with innovative ingredients, such as the clementine carrot velouté with mascarpone and the maple-glazed barramundi in white ginger broth.
In the Area
This is the famed Art Deco District; don’t leave without taking a walking or bicycle tour, self-guided or otherwise, in order to see all the incredibly restored historic properties. While Ocean Drive itself can be touristy, and mediocre foodwise — with the exception of Prime 112, De Rodriguez Cuba and BLT Steak — it also offers some wicked fun, especially at the neighboring Palace South Beach, which is renowned for its colorful drag queen shows. Parallel avenues Collins and Washington feature world class dining and nightclub options, ranging from the Bazaar by José Andrés in the SLS Hotel to Mansion Nightclub. Perpendicular to the beach, the Lincoln Road walking mall is great for people watching and café hopping.
How to Get There
Okay. How do I even do this hotel justice with words? Just know that one gets out of something that one puts into it and prepares for.
The one night that we stayed here (as part of our honeymoon) in mid-June was EPIC, to say the least! We had requested an early check-in and could have had it, except that the pool area was closed for updates and maintenance on the tile and mosaics there. So, we decided to stay at our other hotel and enjoy the pool and beach there for the day. We checked in at around 5 p.m. Diana (LOVE HER!) and her staff were welcoming and showed us to our room. (The Venus Suite)
We were amazed upon entering the front gate and courtyard and were stunned when we entered the suite! It was beyond gorgeous and we were humbled to be there. There was a little bit of musty-antique smell in the sitting room (first room of the suite) but we just opened some doors and windows and let the warm Miami Beach air in. We spent nearly an hour looking at every detail in the room. It is a definite work of art! We are still pouring over the hundreds of photographs we took that night and next morning.
We opted not to eat at the restaurant but enjoyed our champagne on the long balcony overlooking the pool area and restaurant below us. The diners appeared to be enjoying their meals and the atmosphere.
We came back later in the night from our dinner just as the restaurant was wrapping up service. 10:30? We stopped in the bar and had a 24 karat Margherita to toast our stay there. The bar staff was marvelous and so informative as to the history of the bar itself and the mansion.
We found out from the staff that we were the only guests in the hotel for the night. WHAT?!! Yes. The only guests in the place. We were just dumbfounded at our luck.
Since the pool had been closed the entire afternoon/evening, we decided we were going to go directly to the pool at midnight once everything was cleared from the restaurant. We had planned to be as Versace-decadent we could be and wore our Versace swimwear down to the pool and brought more champagne and our own music system to enjoy the night swim. We swam for hours. (The swimwear might have fallen off momentarily.) We were in absolute heaven the entire time. We had an underwater camera, goggles to explore the AMAZING tilework on the floor of the pool. We just reveled in each and every moment of having the pool and the entire mansion/hotel to ourselves. We stayed up the entire night. We wandered each hallway, staircase, cove. We marveled at the art, sculpture, stonework, and homage-plaques of the pioneers in so many creative and scientific, political, art fields that were on almost every level of the courtyard. We left around 5 a.m. to get some breakfast at the nearby News Café and had the security person at the gate cheerfully welcome us back. We finally crashed in the HUGE (could sleep 6 comfortably) bed around 6:30 in the morning. We had been given a late-checkout allowance and woke up around 10:30. We did a quick tour of the courtyard and pool areas again in the morning light and checked out.
We cannot say enough about our experiences here. We made the most of each and every moment we got to spend here. The small-in-number staff was so completely accommodating. (In our buzzed stupor, we had left our special champagne glasses poolside and they were cleared in the morning, but they brought us down to the kitchen area to retrieve them!) We felt welcomed and appreciated for bringing our love and joy for ourselves and for the love and respect that we had for the history of the home.
We plan on making this hotel a MUST-STAY for every visit to Miami Beach in the future. We doubt it will live up to the epic night we had on our first visit, but even half the experience is something that is just beyond belief. It is so special. We are enamored forever with the Villa Casa Casuarina.
(Ask us anything!)
Do not stay here. Their pool turned my hair lime green because of copper ions in the chemicals they are using to treat the pool, after spending 2000 dollars. They offered to comp the room but then rescinded the offer the next morning claiming it wasn't their fault. I was a repeat customer till now. Now I'm just hoping my hair doesn't fall out. Thank you villa casa
We stayed here for 1 night for my husbands 50th birthday the place is absolutely beautiful but the experience was awful to say the least. Do not stay on a Monday as there conveniently tell you once you pay the amount for the room the restaurant is not open. We complained and was told we had to eat in our room as they had a venue going on. We ordered our food which was brought all together so once we ate our starter our main was cold.
We felt we were an inconvenience to them as all the staff were concerned about was the venue. It is such as shame as the rooms are absolutely amazing and if we wasn’t hid away the food could of been too.
We were then told we could only have breakfast in our room not the terrace so we ordered toast and omelette with English tea. The toast came cold the omelette came with no knife and fork we were then told they had no tea in the hotel. We had no butter or jam for the toast then they brought us 2 dirty cups & a tea pot with no lid at this point I felt the need to complain to the manager.
We didn’t have to pay for breakfast & got a discount for the food but seeing as the bill was well over $1000 I feel they should of at least gave us the champagne free.
I feel this place needs a major re think on how to treat guests as I would not recommend any one I know to stay here which is such a shame as the beauty of the place is outstanding just a shame they do not know how to treat guests who stay
I am so glad we made the time to visit the mansion. I have read so much about it I was willing to pay the price for dinner which is the only way to see if unless u stay in a small room for $1,399 a night. While the grounds are beautiful, the food was average to below average: risotto good, truffle potatoes dry, steak hard, flavorless and full of grizzle and the maritini I had was water with rum. Dessert chocolate mousse amazing. The table next to use had lobster which may have been a better choice. Also, about 85% of the staff are unfriendly and act as they are doiing you a favor allowing you to be there. Even with a that, my daughter and I were glad we did it once.
This was our first time to South Beach and of course the hotel. From the time we arrived to the time we left, we had nothing but an excellent experience and service. This includes dinner at the hotel on Fathers Day evening at Giannis. The food was outstanding. Kudos Chef! Probably one thing is visitors are very curious about what it looks like so lots of folks stood in front of us at dinner to take pictures in front of the pool, but it did not bothers us, as each dining guests were there for the experience. The room was over the top as to be expected. Cleanliness was pretty good, but had to remind hotel staff about housekeeping duties. Our room was facing the ally which made for a lot of nighttime noise, but not their fault. We had drinks at the bar and it was fun. Overall, if we could afford to return, we would